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Captaincy Hiccup Looms Over New York Squad

By Orin Davidson

Controversy is brewing over the captaincy of the New York team, more so now with the upcoming national championships slated to bowl off in a week’s time.

Star batsman Steve Massiah was retained as captain in a release put out by the Regional selectors, which according to one source close to the panel, was not the choice agreed on by the five officials.

The source disclosed that vice captain designate Lennox Cush, the experienced Guyana all-rounder, was the selectors’ preference for the position.

However, it seems the decision was over-turned in favor of retaining Massiah for another try.

Having acquired the title of “Most Prolific American” batsman, Massiah has had a roller coaster experience at the helm since being introduced to the leadership role within the last two years.

Since taking over from Richard Staple as skipper of the United States and New York teams, he led the national squad to an impressive second place finish in the Americas Cup last year in Canada, topping the World Cup bound host team in the process. He has also captained Challengers club to a number of title wins in the Eastern American League.

But he saw New York being dethroned as National Champions after being eliminated in the 2006 Eastern Conference playoffs, in his first year leading the Regional squad

He also has not had much success captaining Guyana in the Ed Ahmad Caribbean Cup series either, in three years at the helm.

Cush’s supporters on the other hand, feel their man is best equipped to captain New York and the United States.

He is the most exposed of the players named in the current squad, with a wealth of experience for Guyana in the West Indies first class competitions.

Last weekend he led the Eastern American League team to the final of the New York Inter-League 50 overs Cup with victory over a powerful Nassau League squad led by Massiah.

It was after Cush’s squad captured the Twenty20 title the previous week.

Individually both players have impressive statistics in New York competitions. Massiah has scored more runs than any other United States batsman in international competition, including several centuries, most notably a massive 146 against Zimbabwe in an ICC Champions Trophy warm-up game three years ago against in England.

Cush on the hand, is the highest scoring Guyanese batsman in the Caribbean Cup, as well as a leading scorer and wicket-taker in domestic New York competitions within the last 10 years.

Since acquiring United States eligibility one year ago he has played once in the said Americas Cup last year.

Both Massiah and Cush will have divided duties next weekend when the Eastern Conference series is staged in New Jersey. Sandwiched between the three-game competition set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, is a key fixture of the Ahmad Caribbean Cup Twenty20 series between Guyana and Jamaica on Saturday.

It was decided that all Guyana players selected would be allowed to play in Twenty20 clash that has resulted in a 19-man New York squad being named to accommodate the absence of Massiah, Cush and others.

New York is scheduled to oppose the weakest of the three Eastern Conference teams Connecticut on the said Saturday.

Both their biggest test is expected from defending overall United States champions New Jersey (Atlantic Region), who defeated them last year and went on to top the best of America, on the final day.

Hopefully New York’s team chemistry will cook on that crucial day.

Squad: Steve Massiah (captain), Lennox Cush (vice captain), Orlando Baker, Carl Wright, Barrington Bartley, Akeem Dodson, Rohan Alexander, George Adams, Dennis Evans, Steve Pitter, Dominic Audain, Dennisson Thomas, Nicholas Sanford, Mihail Miller, Steve Raghbir, Karran Ganesh, Oneil Powell, Leebert Seriux and Dwayne Smith. Coach - Sew Shivnarine, manager Lloyd Dixon.
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